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Curtis PickelleHere we are at the end of yet another tumultuous year in the health-care arena—perhaps one even more tumultuous than most. There are new laws, new expectations, revised plans, and lots more to write about as we face the consequences—intended and otherwise. Having just returned from the annual gathering of the imaging clan that is RSNA, I am pleased to report that optimism generally prevailed. I have been involved in this conference/event for many years, and during that time, I have seen my fair share of doom and gloom. This was not one of those years. In case you missed it, you can review the excellent real-time reporting from the convention by our Cat Vasko by going to One development worth mentioning is our personal RSNA experience this year. As I entered the exhibit hall at around 9:45 on Tuesday morning, I took a call from my police-officer brother-in-law back home, informing me that our office building was completely engulfed in flames. Within an hour, our office (along with the offices of several other businesses in our two-story complex) was reduced to a smoldering pile of rubble. Thirty years’ accumulated things had disappeared into that pile. Needless to say, the RSNA experience was just a little surreal for the rest of that day. It wasn’t until I saw the destruction for myself, upon my return on Friday, that the reality hit. It is an unsettling feeling to see what violence is wrought by a single match, carelessly discarded and lodged in a piece of office furniture. The fire started in the office below ours and quickly spread, destroying everything in its path. Fortunately, there were no injuries. The fire broke out before most people arrive at work in our complex, so all of us were spared the worst fate. What we lost was only stuff, and stuff can be replaced. The reflection: As you end this year—a year that has been so complex and filled with anxiety for our future—think about all that is truly important to you: family, friends, and colleagues; your health, stability, career, and talents; and whatever it is that provides you with your anchor to all that is truly real in your life. Don’t get too attached to the things and stuff that surround you, and definitely not to the happiness that you think these things bring. They could be gone in a nanosecond. Cultivate the relationships that are the manna of our respective lives. If you have not done so at this point in your life, it is definitely time to develop an attitude of gratitude for all the gifts and blessings that you have been given. Cherish them always. To the many things that I am grateful for, I will add the network of people who pull together to get businesses like ours up and moving out of the ashes of a fire. We are whole, and in remarkably good shape, as we move into what promises to be an extraordinary new year in our fascinating profession. All of us here at imagingBiz are very happy that we are bringing this one to a close, and we look forward optimistically to a robust 2011. I’m looking forward to the fresh start and focusing on the important parts. Curtis Kauffman-Pickelle is publisher of and Radiology Business Journal, and is a 30-year veteran of the medical-imaging industry. He welcomes your comments at